If you don’t know Teo Hunter and Beny Ashburn yet, you will. The duo was featured in Time Magazine last year after co-founding Dope & Dank, a craft beer lifestyle brand focused on bridging communities of color, culture and craft beer. It’s a cool concept:
Hunter and Ashburn have since announced the launch of Crowns & Hops, their new craft beer brand, and an intriguing new partnership with Scotland-based craft brewer BrewDog. Hunter and Ashburn will be the first beneficiaries of BrewDog’s revamped development fund, an initiative that sees BrewDog helping small craft breweries, brands and start-up businesses get established.
In addition to financial support BrewDog will provide material support to brewers such as help with sourcing ingredients and brewing materials, offering its state-of-the-art laboratory for beer analysis and supporting sales growth by introducing recipients to its international sales network. BrewDog will also brew Crowns & Hops alongside its own headliner beers in their brewery locations of Columbus, Ohio, and Ellon Scotland for global distribution.
The Crowns & Hops brand will introduce craft beer to a more diverse community with merchandise, brewpubs and taprooms around the world. Together, Hunter and Ashburn are on a mission to shine a light on the lack of diversity in the global craft beer culture. They will develop concrete steps to open the industry to more diverse audiences and challenge ingrained stereotypes that black and brown people don’t drink craft beer.
“We’ve grown weary of asking for our presence to be acknowledged in a community that has never truly embraced us,” Teo Hunter said. “So instead of waiting for it to happen organically, we’re doing it ourselves, and creating a community that will become a mecca for those that are searching for it.”
Currently, there are plans to open the first flagship brewery and restaurant in Inglewood California, the heart of one of America’s most culturally rich communities for people of color.
In an effort to preserve the cultural significance of Inglewood, California and make the Crowns & Hops flagship brewery a reality, funding for the project will be raised through a global crowdfunding campaign in 2019. The investors of this crowdfunding effort will be known as the “Crowns & Hops Crew,” the physical collective of all community brand investors who share the passion and goals for authentic cultural representation in craft beer.
“Beny and Teo’s passion for changing the world of craft beer is infectious,” said James Watt, BrewDog cofounder. “The Crowns & Hops movement is inspiring brewers, bars, and beer enthusiasts around the world to take an honest and critical look at the ways craft beer culture has consciously and unconsciously excluded people of color. When I first met them, I was completely blown away by how unapologetic and uncompromising they are, and it opened my own eyes to a very serious issue we have in craft beer. It’s these qualities that made us such great partners, and I can’t wait to see what they can achieve with BrewDog’s support.”
The first three craft beers under the Crowns & Hops brand are set to launch Spring 2019 (A Pilsner, IPA and a Stout). The company will be launching a series of tasting experiences, events and festivals across the United States and the U.K. giving the public and investors an opportunity to try their new craft beer.